National Security Minister Jack Warner, who addressed members of the business community yesterday during a breakfast meeting hosted by the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, said $1.3 million was a small price to pay. The meeting was held at the chamber’s building in Westmoorings. Shift stands for Service, Honour, Integration, Focus and Transition.
The plan, however, was rejected by Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs in 2010 on the basis of lack of funding. The new initiative, which Warner said was not a crime plan, aims at improving attitude and empowering police officers to change their behaviour and work ethics. Warner met with executive members of the association, including president Sgt Anand Ramesar and secretary Sgt Michael Seales, at his ministry at 5 am yesterday.
Describing the meeting as “absolutely superb,” Warner said: “I met the association members, from a depressed bunch of guys to more pleasant guys they are now. “And I would say the money is worth it…it is a good investment,” he added. The plan would be monitored by the National Security Ministry and its key focus was to “do a transition” of the Police Service, Warner said.
“This was not so in the past. This is not an anti-crime plan. This is a transition plan to change the image of the Police Service…they want to change the image and get better results and better service, and this is what they are working on. “The association has said the image is not the best and the evidence is there…I have seen this,” Warner said.
Ramesar said the plan was in the making two years ago when the association began an extensive data-collection exercise. “The plan is really about shifting the paradigm in the Police Service and uplifting its culture,” he said. “It is about improving attitude and getting police officers to change their behaviour and work ethics. “We are taking the bull by the horns because we want police officers to display the right type of attitude to the public.”
A main feature of the plan will be awards for a policeman and policewoman of the year, to be chosen by the community. He said the association hired a United Kingdom-based consultancy firm, Barrett Values Centre, to analyse data gathered by the association and independent consultants.
Ramesar said focus was placed on internal transformation, including facilities in the Police Service. “There is the aspect of external transformation, which focused on being more proactive rather than reactionary,” he said. “There is also the issue of strategic alliances, which focuses on areas the Police Service needs to partner with.”
The plan, he added, would not only result in a cultural change but also produce more motivated police. “When we produce the police officer with the right attitude, this would transcend into the society and produce improved community links,” Ramesar said. “This would eventually change the society…this is not a cosmetic approach to policing.”
Asked whether this plan would be duplicating some of the core factors of the Police Academy in St James, Ramesar described the teaching at the academy as based on theory. “The academy focuses heavily on syllabus, a lot of literature and theory…It does not focus on character-building of a police officer,” he said. “This plan deals with the removal of ego from the police officer.”